The tokoloshe mythos took a bizarre turn recently, beginning with a video posted to YouTube, showing a South African couple being interviewed by a television reporter. In the segment, the male homeowner described how a tokoloshe has been repeatedly breaking into his home and generally creating chaos. It had gotten to the point where the homeowners were thinking about moving. But all was not what it seemed to be.
But before we get into the big reveal about the truth behind the video, let’s take a closer look at some of the highs and lows of the clip.
After a brief introduction by an unnamed news reporter, we are introduced to South African Albert Dlomo, a homeowner whose house has recently come under siege by a tokoloshe.
Dlomo explains that his life has basically become a living hell due to the tokoloshe sneaking into the home and doing all sorts of nasty tokoloshe-like things. To prove this, Dlomo then takes the reporter (or at least the cameraman) on a trip through the house, pointing out the damage the tokoloshe has done. For instance, the tokoloshe apparently likes to chow down on dog food, resulting in this rather pathetic shot:
And I don’t even want to begin to think about that caused this next scene, although Dlomo seemed rather happy to point it out to the viewers at home:
The most intriguing part of the interview comes when Dlomo plays a video that he recorded himself, on which he believes he captured the image of the tokoloshe. The scene goes by very quickly, with viewers only catching a glimpse of some sort of monkey-like creature sitting on a bed. It’s a fleeting glimpse at best, as when the creature lashes out at Dlomo, he runs frantically from the room, swinging the camera wildly as he goes.
No worries, though, because the news team throws up a still from the video, a la In Search Of… where they have circled and brightened the section which they believe shows the tokoloshe.
The segment ends with Dlomo restating that he needs to move to a new home.
When I first saw the clip on YouTube, I made the decision not to post it on my blog. Not because I didn’t think it was real. Rather, it was just so bad. By that, I mean that the entire news segment appeared to have been recorded on a cell phone by someone who was watching TV. So throughout the segment, the camera shook and was continually shifting in and out of frame. On top of that, the guy with the cell phone kept giggling and laughing the entire time. It was rather obnoxious. I kept looking for other people on YouTube who might have filmed the news cast as well, but all roads led me back to the one clip by Mr. Shaky Giggling Guy. So I decided not to post anything until I could find another version of the clip.
Well, turns out there is no other version of the video. That’s because the entire thing was designed to be a teaser for a commercial. The product they are advertising is tivvit.com, a type of search engine that allows you to search properties in South Africa. Their tagline is “when you really need to find a new place”. You know, like if a tokoloshe has decided to move into your current home.
The new commercial/ad is up and running on YouTube now. It is a shortened version of the first video (and not shot by a guy with a cell phone). Only where the first one ended with Dlomo proclaiming he needed to move, the commercial itself continues, complete with a gospel choir and a pasty-white version of James Brown leaping into Dlomo’s living room. And no, I’m not making that up.
Concerning the original “teaser” video, it’s still up on YouTube, too. However, the description of the video has since been updated to admit this was all part of an ad campaign. But if you scroll through the comments, especially the first few ones, you can see that it was originally being portrayed as a real news story.
So there you have it; proof that someone as bizarre and, some would say, obscure as the tokoloshe has grown in popularity to the point there it has entered into the realm of pop culture.
You can view the original “teaser” clip (aka: “filmed by cell phone guy”) here.
The full commercial can be viewed here.